Every time I walked along the highway of Mirpur, the busiest place in Dhaka, I saw a pair of instruments and people looking at the sky. The railroad lying like a frozen snake on a huge pillar between the sky and the road. Crowds are all around. Work in progress.
The same traffic jam metropolis Dhaka. Rickshaw, buses, people coming and going in crowds of their own cars and being stuck for hours on end are almost a daily occurrence.
Digital Bangladesh entered the Metro Rail Era. Metrorail will be added to Dhaka’s public transport next December. The bus route franchise is expected to be launched in Dhaka at the same time. These projects will drastically change the city’s transportation system – say experts, government officials and many others.
The name of the first metro rail in Dhaka is MRT-6. It will start from Uttara and go to Kamalapur via Mirpur, Farmgate and Motijheel. The 11.29 km stretch from Uttara to Agargaon was targeted to be completed by December this year and the 11 km stretch from Agargaon to Kamalapur by 2023. Work is underway to bring it forward.
Dhaka Metro Rail: At A Glance
The government is moving ahead with a long-term ambitious project to reduce traffic congestion in Dhaka metropolis and its surrounding areas. To this end, the government will build a total of six Metro Rails by 2030. Under these six, a total of 128.741 km long Metro Rail will be constructed. Of this, 67.569 km of flyovers and 61.172 km of subways will be constructed. There will be a total of 104 stations on these lines. Of which 51 will be flying stations and 53 will be underground. The government wants to make Dhaka traffic free by 2030 by building this strong network.
Construction of these six metrorails has already begun. Although most of the work is at an early stage, the most progress is on MRT Line-6, which runs from Uttara to Motijheel. It is expected to be completed by December 2022. The first part or from Uttara to Agargaon will be inaugurated on December 16 this year on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of independence.
The government has set up Dhaka Mass Transit Company Limited (DMTCL) to launch these six metrorails by 2030.
What are the basic features of MRT Line-6 or the first flying Metrorail of Bangladesh?
|Purpose||Introduce fast, safe, reliable, air-conditioned, time-efficient, electric-powered, remote-controlled and eco-friendly state-of-the-art public transport system to reduce traffic congestion and improve the environment of Dhaka metropolis.|
|Type of infrastructure||Flying|
|Route Alignment||Uttara 3rd Episode – Pallabi – Khamarbari along the west side of Rokeya Sarani, Farmgate – Hotel Sonargaon – Shahbag – TSC – Doel Chattar -Artillery Road – Bangladesh Bank|
|Number of stations||18|
|Stations||Uttara North – Uttara Center – Uttara South – Pallabi – Mirpur 11 – Mirpur 10 – Kazipara – Shewrapara – Agargaon – Vijay Sarani – Farmgate – Karwan Bazar – Shahbag – Dhaka University – Bangladesh Secretariat – Motijheel|
|Passenger transport capacity (2021)||60 thousand per hour and 5 lakh daily|
|Number of metro trains||24 sets with 6 coaches. However, 6 coaches can be promoted in the future|
|Coach passenger transport capacity||a) Maximum 390 people in each of the 4 middle coaches|
B) Maximum 364 people in each trailer coach
Maximum on each metro train
|Passenger transport capacity||2306 people|
|Metro train frequency||3 minutes 30 seconds (peak hour)|
|Metro Train Management System||Communication Based Train Control (CBTC) System|
|Maximum planned speed||100 km/h|
|Metro Track Type||Dual Continuous Welded Rail|
|Gauge||Standard gauge (1435 mm)|
|Travel time||36 minutes stop at 16 stations (Uttara to Motijheel)|
|Inauguration of construction work||26 June 2018|
Sources: Dhaka Mass Transit Company Limited (DMTCL)
Various Projects as Metrorail
According to DMTCL sources, the construction of these six Metrorails will be completed in three phases by 2030. In the first phase, by 2024, MRT line-6 or from Uttara to Motijheel. However, the government has reduced this time and set a target to complete the construction of the metro rail from Uttara to Motijheel by December 2022.
In the second phase, construction of MRT Line-6 by 2026 and MRT Line-5 by 2028: Northern Route will be completed. In the third phase, construction of MRT Line-5: Southern Route, MRT Line-2 and MRT Line-4 will be completed by 2030.
Bangladesh’s first flying Metrorail
The overall average progress of construction of Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) Line-6 or the first Metro Rail of Bangladesh from Uttara Phase II to Motijheel at an estimated cost of Tk 22,000 crore, which is 20.10 km long, is 56.94 percent. From the third phase of Uttara scheduled for the construction of the first phase of this line, the progress of the construction work of Agargaon section is 80.21 percent. The progress of construction work from Agargaon to Motijheel section scheduled for construction in the second phase is 51.28 percent. The combined progress of electrical and mechanical systems and rolling stock (railway coaches) and depot equipment procurement work is 46.33 percent. Following the directives of the Prime Minister, a joint meeting has already been held to extend MRT Line-6 from Motijheel to Kamalapur. Household survey is underway. Social studies is in its final stages. The length of this part is 1.16 km.
Bangladesh’s first subway Metrorail
31.241 km long MRT line-1 is divided into two parts. The two parts are Airport Route (from Airport to Kamalapur) and Purbachal Route (from New Bazar to Pitalganj Depot). The total length of the airport route is 19.872 km and the total number of subway stations is 12. This route is going to be the first subway or underground metro rail in Bangladesh. The total length of Purbachal route is 11.369 km. This part will be fully flown and the total number of stations is 9. Seven of the stations will fly. New Bazar and Jamuna Future Park stations will be constructed underground as part of the two airport routes. The new market station will have inter-change. This inter-change can be used to go from Airport Route to Purbachal Route and from Purbachal Route to Airport Route.
MRT Line-5: Northern Route
By 2028, a 20 km long metro rail will be constructed from Hemayetpur to Bhatara with a combination of subway and flyover. Among them, there will be 13.50 km underground and 6.50 km flying Metrorail. It will have 14 stations. Of which 9 will be underground and 5 will be flying. Its feasibility study has already been completed. Various surveys and original designs are in progress. Progress of original design work is 50.33 percent.
MRT Line-5: Southern Route
By 2030, 16.40 km metro rail will be constructed from Gabtali to Dasherkandi. Of these, the underground is 12.60 km and the flight is 4.70 km. It will have a total of 18 stations. Of these, 12 were underground and 4 were flying. Its pre-feasibility verification has been completed. A loan agreement has been signed with a development partner for Project Readiness Financing (PRF) for this Metrorail. The recruitment process of the consulting firm is in the final stage.
The Governments of Japan and Bangladesh have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the construction of MRT Line-2 on PPP basis on a 24 km long G2G basis from Gabtali to Chittagong Road by 2030. The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs gave policy approval on November 8, 2016 for the implementation of MRT Line-2 in PPP system on G2 basis. To this end, the first platform meeting was held on December 6, 2016, the second platform meeting on June 7, 2016 and the third platform meeting on March 21, 2019 with the participation of Japan and Bangladesh. The report has been submitted in March 2020 after completing the PPP research of MRT Line-2. The engaged consulting firm is conducting a preliminary study, the progress of which is 50 percent.
Construction of MRT Line-4 will also be completed by 2030. Initiatives are under construction to construct MRT Lai-4 as a 16 km long flying metro rail by Kamalapur-Narayanganj railway truck in PPP method.
Some Important FAQs About Metro Rail (Dhaka City)
What will be the role of Bangladesh’s first flying metro rail in reducing traffic congestion and improving the environment in Dhaka metropolis and adjoining areas?
MRT Line-6 or Bangladesh’s first flying metro rail will be able to carry 60 thousand passengers per hour and 5 lakh passengers per day. Each one-way metro train with 6 coaches will be able to carry a maximum of 2,308 passengers at 36 stations from Uttara to Motijheel in 36 minutes at a time. It will be possible to transport more passengers in a short time. The use of small vehicles will be significantly reduced. The use of fossil and liquid fuels will be less. Different dimensions and speed will be added to the life of Dhaka metropolis. Traffic congestion will be greatly reduced. The working hours of the metropolitan people will be saved. The saved working hours can be used for the socio-economic development of the country.
As Bangladesh’s first flying Metrorail is fully electric, no fossil or liquid fuels will be used. As a result, there is no chance of air pollution. There will be Mass Spring System (MSS) under the railway track. Continuous Welded Rail (CWR) will be used. There will be sound barrier walls on both sides of the viaduct of the flying Metrorail. As a result, noise and vibration pollution levels in Metrorail will be well below the norm. It will not have a negative impact on the overall environmental pollution but will play a huge role in environmental development.
Will there be any special facility for safe travel of female passengers in Metrorail?
MRT Line-6 or Bangladesh’s first flying metro rail will be able to carry 60,000 passengers per hour. Each metro train with 6 coaches will stop at 36 stations from Uttara to Motijheel every 36 minutes and carry a maximum of 2,308 passengers. One coach of each train will be reserved for female passengers only to ensure smooth movement of female passengers in Metrorail. This will allow a maximum of 390 female passengers to travel on each train. Women passengers can also travel in other coaches if they wish.
What will be the ticket system for metro rail travel?
Considering the operating cost of the Metrorail and the financial capacity of the people, the committee will recommend the highest and lowest fare rates. The government will finalize the rental rate.
What will be the facilities for people with special needs to travel in Metrorail?
One coach of each train will be reserved for female passengers only to ensure smooth movement of female passengers in Metrorail. This will allow a maximum of 390 female passengers to travel on each train. Women passengers can also travel in other coaches if they wish.
What will be the ticket system for metro rail travel?
MRT Line-6 or Bangladesh’s first flying metro rail can be used using Single Journey Ticket and MRT Pass. Passengers can also travel on the Metrorail with ease using the Rapid Pass. Single Journey Ticket and MRT Pass can be purchased from Ticket Office Machine (TOM) with the help of the seller. Tickets can be purchased through TOM and TVM and the price can be paid with Credit / Debit Card along with cash during Top-up.
Is it possible to go from one side of the road to the other with the concourse of metro stations?
There will be ticket booths at relatively low altitudes so that wheelchair users and short people can easily collect tickets through Ticket Office Machine (TOM). Deaf and mute passengers will be able to travel comfortably at metro stations and metro trains by following the digital guidelines. A yellow tactical path will be provided to facilitate the use of blind sticks for the blind passengers in the metro station. There will be identification signs on platforms and metro trains for easy understanding of toilets, elevators and priority seats.
What steps have been taken to ensure uninterrupted power supply in Metrorail operation?
Stairs, elevators and escalators can be used to cross the road from Concourse Level.
What measures have been included in the construction of MRT Line-6 to control air, noise and water pollution?
There will be two receiving substations in Uttara Depot and Motijheel area to ensure uninterrupted power supply in Metrorail operation.
What kind of measures are included to ensure safe travel of passengers traveling on Metrorail and Metrorail?
There are various steps for controlling Air, Water, Noise, Waste Management, Dust Control, Drain and Footpath Management.
What steps have been taken to ensure the safety of pedestrians during the construction of MRT Line-6 or the first flying metro rail in Bangladesh?
Emergency exit doors have been put in place to exit the interior of the Metrorail. Automatic Sprinkler and Water Hydrant have been added to the metro station, route alignment and metro train as firefighting. Above all, initiatives are underway to form a separate specialized MRT Police Force to ensure safe travel of passengers on the Metrorail.